Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Raleigh, North of New Hill, East of Harris Lake, NC
Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Speialized Roubaix, Giant OCR-C, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Stumpjumper Comp, 88 & 92Nishiki Ariel, 01 Bianchi Campione, 87 Centurion Ironman, 92 Paramount
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If you can reach for the 8 speed over the 7 speed, do it. Upgrading at a later date from 7 to 8 will have to include a new rear wheel because the 7 speed is probably a freewheel set up where the 8 speed is the large freehub that is used on the 8, 9 or 10 speed set ups. As for the fork, I'd go with the Suntour, then upgrade after you wear it out to a really good quality fork.
On my 26er bikes, I traded the stock Manitou forks for used FOX F-100s from ebay and am real happy with that move.
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